July 26, 2021

Zaika

Livingston

Ice-cream giant Nestle adding 88 jobs in $41M London expansion

4 min read

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Nestle is serving up another big scoop of expansion in London, adding production capacity and jobs. 

The food giant is investing $41.3 million in its lone Canadian ice cream plant, its second major expansion there in three years, in a move that will boost production and add 88 jobs to a factory that already employs more than 800, including seasonal staff.

The formal announcement will be made Wednesday.

“We are honoured to be part of the London community for over 50 years and thrilled to make this significant investment, which is truly a testament to our support for our people,” Jayne Payette, president of Nestle Canada’s ice cream division, said Tuesday.

“This investment allows us to bring even more exciting and innovative products to market and continue to meet consumer demand.”

Nestle is a major player in London’s growing food-processing industry that includes other big-name producers, such as frozen pizza maker Dr. Oetker, beer brewer Labatt and poultry giants Cargill and Maple Leaf Foods.

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Three years ago, Nestle spent $50 million to build up its Wilton Grove Road plant that supplies the Canadian market with such ice cream brands as HäagenDazs, Real Dairy and Drumstick. The latest investment follows the unveiling of the lower-fat, lower-sugar HäagenDazs Divine product line.

The latest expansion is expected to add more than 26,600 square feet to the London plant’s footprint, creating additional buildings, more refrigeration capacity and other services to support the new growth. Two new production lines will be created. 

The company is still in the bidding stage for a general contractor, with ground-breaking scheduled for September and completion by February 2023.

The added jobs and production capacity are welcome news for London in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the head of the London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC), the city’s lead economic development agency.

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“Nestle is an anchor in our agri-food cluster of over 100 companies in the London region,” said agency chief executive Kapil Lakhotia.

“The company has a solid track record of growth and has been constantly investing in production and facility improvement.”

London in recent years has steadily built up its food-sector muscle, adding major frozen-food makers and, now under construction, the single-largest new food-processing project in the industry in Canada, a $660-million Maple Leaf Foods poultry plant expected to employ 1,500.

London’s location in one of Canada’s richest farm belts and its close proximity to major markets have been key drawing cards for the industry, allowing regional sourcing of many ingredients and easy shipping of finished products.

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Nestle Canada, one of Canada’s largest dairy product buyers, spent more than $45 million locally in 2020.

The company has also had a large public profile during the pandemic, donating more than $276,000 in hand sanitizers and $135,000 in food to community partners, including London Health Sciences Centre. It also plans to donate more than 5,000 ice-cream products and coupons to local first responders and front-line health workers, and a monetary gift to the London Food Bank.

Lakhotia said Nestle’s investment in growth in London highlights the city’s profile as a national food and beverage processor, with nearly 8,000 workers in the local agri-food sector. 

“These are global brands and we’re developing a reputation for having leading facilities here,” he said. “It’s not just attracting new companies. It’s equally important to have regular growth of existing companies.”

MPP Jeff Yurek (PC Elgin–Middlesex–London) called the Nestle expansion “incredible news” for the region, lauding the company’s leadership as an employer and environmental sustainability.

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